Sustaining success is very difficult than becoming successful. Narendra Modi is a master player in this domain.
Dictionary meaning is Dreams, Ambitions, Business Skill, Courage, Communication and Empathy all rolled into one.
The quality of political leadership across world’s nations is as low as I can ever perceive it through my glasses of conviction- only a handful of exceptions, Narendra Damodar Das Modi is one of them. He is fighting an opposition which is disgusting and appalling.
Before Modi, Gujarat was known as the state used to suffer in drought and natural calamities. However, Narendra Modi has transformed the state synonymous with development. It may be reforms of governance, electricity reforms leading to electricity surplus state, Beti Padhao and Beti Bachao schemes, Vibrant Gujarat Summit every year, he proved his leadership and sustained the power.
“Gujarat’s image has become that of a growth engine of the country. The state has clocked a growth rate of 13 per cent in industrial and 10.7 per cent in agriculture sectors apart from contributing 22 per cent to India’s overall exports,” claims the statement from Gujarat government.
The flagship success of Modi as PM in first term includes, Ayushman Bharat, Sanitation, Direct Benefit Transfer, Rural Electrification, Free LPG Cylinders under Ujwala Yojana, focus on Infrastructure, IBC Code, Strengthening Internal Security and Foreign Policy, GST adoption. The foundation laid during the first term paved the way to further reforms. The way he handled Covid was applauded by one and all and India is able to maintain very low mortality rate in spite of huge population. It may be NRC, Farm Reforms, Labour Laws, Stimulus Packages, and handling China, Narendra Modi has shown his leadership in every tiny aspect while ignoring the nonsense and noise around. This is one of the important reasons of sustaining power by Narendra Modi for the last 20 years.
Everywhere in the opposition, if I sieve through to find one, at least one and sometimes many more than one, as I regard some qualities as essential and absolute must attributes of constructive, responsive and impactful political leadership have gone missing. This is not surprising as the politics is always considered as a dangerous, deceitful trade. It is increasingly becoming more so in the age of on and on 24/7 news cycles, invading social media and very reduced personal privacy. The more one wishes to climb the ladder of leadership positions in politics, he should be ready to be more exposed.
Self-confidence and self-discipline defying normal human reasoning is much needed to expect, aspire, and achieve high degree of political leadership. However, we are seeing pathological attitude of opposition to stay unmoved by what people are perceiving and saying about them. There is no shortage of these so-called political leaders in India.
Narendra Modi played a different game and discredited the mainstream politics of India. Whenever Narendra Modi is referred, this is too common line in the last 20 years. He advocated the technocratic, business-like style of government as an alternative to the raising voices of populism and other political ugly pathologies that have out grown to threaten the democracy itself. Populism is losing its traction against the promotions of such views of elites.
Narendra Modi added business view to the political domain and trying to bring justice to the complexity surrounding the running of government. We can imbibe best practices from the functioning of Modi and share it across among upcoming leaders.
Handling Coalition Partners
BJP formed many successful governments in states and at centre. Many people are ignoring the fact that there are dangerous consequences of assembling these different partners as most of the times they acted as competitors and not as partners. Everyone tried to extract the maximum pie. It is loyalty and realism that defines the relationship in politics. Learning to find allies and having shared goals in the most surprising complexities of each state is a key political characteristic of playing on a different and difficult wicket leading to new political combinations. The media should need to have a close look at how magic is happening when right mindsets with right strengths are coming together and working together. At the same time, BJP is ready to leave the baggage without fear or favour for the greater good of the nation, it happened before and is happening now.
The Power of Ideas
Money is important and there are many things that money cannot buy. These ideas are raw material for politics. Political success is achieved by promoting these ideas to deliver a true change. Modi got the trust of the voters again and again by focusing on very concrete and immediate benefits for the voters. Connecting with right communication, aligning people with vision, values has always worked with Modi. He has shown that he cares about the people than telling them he cares them.
Sustaining the Image
Many politicians answer in chorus saying that their image is very important to them. However, Modi replaced it with people, and built his image around their welfare. This allowed him to sustain the power. Continuously, he is sustaining and protecting this image and at the same time he is consistently interested in responding to attacks that threaten his own image. There is a right balance between the image of the party and the credibility of Modi and it is internalised in day to day affairs and serving as a good lesson to global relationships. Modi built his image by swinging between the desire to please people and the need to govern with inspiring authority in addition to enjoying a solid reputation. He is what his image speaks about.
Opportunities and Threats
Common sense of Modi is his biggest strength. This factor may be seen by many as a cliché. Politics is a place which is very dynamic and is always under pressure from happenings and people’s opinion. Still, every dynamic situation in politics demands stability, which Modi was able to provide with majority support. Every day is the day of reinvention to Modi. Many political parties should take valuable lessons from here. He advocates change however not too much at once and he takes calculated risks, exploits opportunities, accepts mistakes, leverages imperfections. He prefers to have social access. He is the one who is ready to take advantage of noise and silence and jumps in front to befriend unpredictability.
Longer Goals and Long-term Vision
Modi focuses on long term game as politics is long-term and catch-all game. He chooses the right moment to attack, and is realistic and tactical in his attacks. He looks very strong when the situation is weak and appears weak when the situation is strong. So, he is building and constructing wherever he is ruling from one phase to another phase, legacies need decades, hence two decades.
Opposition should start training their cadre both in discipline as political strategy and the tactics and specifics of local politics in states where regional parties are operating in. When in India, think and operate like an Indian ruler. That is Narendra Modi sustaining power.
By, MVNL Damayanthi.
Academician, Researcher, Learning and Development Professional, Organization Development Professional and Qualified Legal Consultant.